I have been doing more blog reading this week, and came across (again) the Photosynthesis blog from fellow student Eileen Rafferty. I was fascinated to see her Assignment 4 for PWDP which is looking at house facades and photographing them in a consistent manner. I thought this was a really interesting project, and wondered about my own version. I often walk around the neighbourhood and find it to be very diverse in the style of houses and I often take photos of them, but not in a consistent manner. This might be a project that fits in with my current lifestyle and interests.
What are the requisites for creating a project such as this? Well it’s important to be consistent – framing, similar lighting conditions, similar focal lengths, good depth of field, square on to the subject, adjustment of verticals as necessary in post-processing. It’s also important to have some variety, and something linking the images also, and some sense of mystery to the images perhaps? And avoid cars where possible (could be a challenge here as many people drive here and then bus into the city). Photographing at a similar time of day would be important too, so the lighting conditions were fairly constant. I would have difficulty carrying a tripod (while pushing a pram), but carrying a monopod to aid in composition would be possible (and probably a good idea).
This sort of project might fit into the Dusseldorf School of work, as led by the Bechers. I read an interesting article in Professional Photographer Magazine recently entitles ‘Has the Dusseldorf School killed photography?’ It has certainly led to a growth in photographs of the mundane images that do seem to litter the web these days. I don’t particularly want to join that school of thought (not that I am against the Bechers and their followers), but I am interested in photography of everyday life and the mundane more than the exotic and strange. I get asked sometimes what sort of photography I’m interested in, or do, and I find it difficult to answer. I take photos of things I like! Or don’t like, and I like taking photos of stuff I find interesting or challenging. But it doesn’t really answer the question, and it’s something I’m continuing to ask myself, particularly as I come (slowly) towards the end of the first 3 subjects and move onto the more challenging second level courses. What am I interested in, and what do I want to do with my photography? I don’t get a lot of time for personal projects, but when I set my mind to a project and follow it through I do manage to take some decent photos, but I’m not sure I’ve got a vision yet… I know this is something that the courses are meant to help us with, and I guess I’ll get there if I keep questioning what it is I like and don’t like.
I also read a piece on Gestalt theory and how it’s related to Photographic composition. I found this article through a fellow student’s link, and found it very interesting. Particularly the various ‘elements’ of composing a successful image, including using negative and positive space in an image, proximity between elements in an image, similarity (repetition), closure (by cutting of part of the subject to add tension), simplicity, common fate and continuation (leading the eye through the image). I’ll continue to do some reading on this topic as I think it’s interesting and could lead to more dynamic compositions.
Other projects on the books: It’s the annual BOGI fair tomorrow (Brisbane Organic Growers Association). Last year I shot the fair for an assignment for P&P. This time I’ll be going along just for a few hours to do some photography, but not the whole day (due to family needs). I hope to take some much better and more innovative photos than I did last year, and plan to put my new camera through it’s strides. Again I hope to take along my monopod and probably two or three lenses. I think I’ll avoid taking my flash this year and instead up my ISO’s and play with using a variety of dynamic range situations (and maybe shoot some images for my assignment).
Astbury, D (2012) Your Own Portfolio Blog. Online, available at: http://ocaphotoyop.blogspot.
com.au/ [accessed 05/10/12]
Rafferty, E (2012) Photosynthesis. Online, available at: http://www.eileen-rafferty.com/ [accessed 05/10/12]
Scott, G (2011) Has the Dusseldorf School Killed Photography? Online, available at: http://www.professionalphotographer.co.uk/Magazine/The-Business/Has-the-D-sseldorf-School-killed-photography [accessed 05/10/12]